1. Face prep
There are no heroes in the shaving mirror. You’ve gotta wash your face before shaving. Its not just a ease of shaving thing, it’s a science thing. Think about it, we’re sliding a super sharp often multi bladed tool across our faces, using only our monkey grip, steamed up vision and primitive eyeball to ensure we don’t cut anything..
Tip: Razors cut.
Often micro-abrasions as we take those jawline corners, or pull in tight around the edges of our mouths or noses. These little cuts seem miniscule, but are open invitations to any bacteria that are hanging around since we washed last night. So get in there and wash down.
Use a heated facecloth, you may want to exfoliate if you haven’t in a while, this will give you a clean slate to work with, and rinse off any dead skin cells that reduce the effectiveness of the shave and give the razors edge a much truer surface to glide on.
Your hair is naturally going to toughen up.
Even overnight, small follicles, as they grow, don’t auto-soften! Believe it or not. So soak a facecloth in some super hot water, wring it out and throw it over your face and wait about 30 seconds.
This is going to open up your pores, loosen up the skins grip on the hair, and make the face much more malleable for shaving.
If you have a beard, and you aren't shaving it down to skin, beard softening oil is definately a thing you should know about.
Our hands aren’t suited to applying creams. Accept it.
Natural shaving brushes are specifically designed to evenly disperse the cream over the surface of your face and they do this while actually aerating the foam. The tiny bristles whip the cream up into a svelte lather. Try whipping cream with your hands next time you’re cooking.
We’re talking chalk and cheese here.
Shaving brushes gently exfoliate the skin, further removing any facial debris you missed in the preparation phase, and what more they create heat by friction, providing your skin with a warmer, smoother shave. Don’t get us wrong, you’re still a man if you don’t have a shaving brush. But they’re a definite staple in any serious groomers shaving kit.
How to shave
We’re not going to get too down in the weeds here, but theres several tips that have stood the test of time.
Balloon your cheeks out, stretch your skin, pull it tight with your fingers, you’re basically looking to prevent micro bunching of the outer layer of skin as you move the blade along. Get close to the mirror so you can see what you're doing. If you dont have a mirror, well...?
Shave with or against the grain?
Move with the grain. If you’ve followed the steps til now, you’re probably realising that there’s ways to do things - and there’s shortcuts. Going against the grain may ‘feel’ closer, and it may be true, but the risk/reward is too great for skin irritations or bumps. Hairs don’t like to be pushed the wrong way, let alone sliced. Also, remember not all hairs are created equal, some go downward, some go sideways, some up. Go with the grain. Your skin and face will thank you for it.
Keep the razor sharp.
The Samurai were right! Rinse your blade after each stroke. It doesn’t cost you anything to dip the blade in after each stroke to prevent build up of hair and cream. This is a pro tip that will change your shaving game or good. Every stroke, clean the razor, not every second, not two every three, each time. Make it a habit, you can thank us later.
Just like we feel about Big-Pharma, Big-Tobacco and Big-Egg (that last one was a joke), we’re fed up with the lies we’re told regarding what to do after shaving. Here’s a tip: Alcohol is not your skins friend. Any Big-Shave company that is still trying to spruik traditional ‘aftershave’ for a profit, is lying to you. What happens when you slap alcohol onto your cheeks when you’re finished shaving? It hurts? It tingles? It feels cold? It burns? All of the above? Yeah! Those things aren’t what you want. After shaving you’re skin needs three things.
Your skin's just been through a traumatic experience. The pores have been opened up, the hairs softened, the skin tightened, blades drawn across the surface, cold water splashed… It needs to be looked after. Apply some natural moisturiser that is as free of chemicals as you can get it, make sure it’s bringing minerals to the party, because in that state, your skin will suck up whatever’s being offered at the surface. And yeah, if it smells like the ocean or the open countryside…no ones going to be upset!
So that’s it, learning how to shave doesn’t have to be a mysterious artform passed down by watching Gillette commercials. Nor should it be a cumbersome or loathed process. Your face is going to grow hair, forever. You may as well understand what it needs and how to look after it. Do it the wrong way, and you’re headed for rashes, pimples, ingrown-hairs and shaving burn. Do it the right way, and you can have a lifelong habit that will make you feel great, look great and maybe can even pass on to generations to come.
Mr. Gifts takes shaving very seriously. So should you. Don’t be that guy who has the electric toothbrush, the nose-trimmer, the 15 different types of cologne, but buys his shaving gear from Woolies and thinks moisturiser isn’t for him. Guy, its 2019, we’re moisturising now. Take 5 years off your age in a week by lathering up your face with quality products every once in a while!
But seriously, follow these tips, pay attention to yourself, in this busy world it’s easy to miss things like this that can have a big impact on how you look, feel and live. And if it’s not for you, give it to someone else, if you know someone who takes facial shortcuts, and believe us, we all know someone.. give them a headstart on a pathway to manhood. Give them something like a shaving brush, a shaving caddy or a softening beard oil, that will positively change them for good.